Timeline will be crucial in tackling the safety threat posed by illegal drone usage 

The Government must act urgently to mitigate the risk posed by drones to aircraft passengers and residents living in the vicinity of Dublin Airport, according to Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy.

Deputy Murphy, who is the party’s Transport spokesperson, said:

“The most recent drone interference at Dublin Airport comes just hours after I raised the issue of disruption and air safety with Minister of State Jack Chambers.

“We have had two State safety plans for aviation since 2017. It was identified in the first plan that drone use in and around airports and aerodromes was an emerging risk.

“That in itself required an immediate response. However, it is only this morning that we learn Minister Eamon Ryan is planning to bring a memo to Cabinet regarding the deployment of anti-drone technology.

“When I raised the issue in the Dáil this week, all I got was a list of things that were being planned or in the pipeline for later this year. Given the seriousness of the situation, the lack of urgency from the Minister is staggering.

“I have pointed to how important the timeline will be in terms of implementing the necessary measures to deal with illegal drone activity.

“There are many policy shortcomings when it comes to tackling the threat presented by drones. For instance, we still don’t publish geo-zone data in a common digital format. As a result, manufacturers cannot incorporate an accurate representation of a geo-zone onto their devices. This would either stop the drone from flying into the area or alert the operator when they are about to enter a restricted zone.

“The safety of people on the ground and in the air is the paramount concern here. If we look at the current exclusion zone of a radial 5km from Dublin Airport, it does not take a genius to figure out how densely populated the area under the flight path is.

“Current sanctions do not seem to be a deterrent. It is well past the time for the State to invest in other methods to mitigate the risk.”

March 3, 2023

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